Trump to Meet with 500 Evangelical Leaders in NYC
Ben Carson to Chair Discussion Between Trump and Evangelical Leaders
Dr. Ben Carson will give leadership to a guided discussion between Donald Trump and about 500 diverse conservative Christian leaders on June 21 in New York City.
The collaborative event coined, "A Conversation About America's Future with Donald Trump and Ben Carson" was announced jointly today by organizations, My Faith Votes and United in Purpose.
"This moment is perhaps the most critical in the history of our nation, and people of faith can make a crucial difference for our children and grandchildren by exercising their civic duty to cast an informed vote based on a biblical worldview," said Carson. "The goal is that coming out of this meaningful 'conversation,' the faith leaders and Mr. Trump will be more informed about each other and would know one another better, and that he would see their unity in seeking God's direction for the future of America."
This meeting, closed to media, will be neither a fundraiser nor a political or campaign event, nor will it engage in debate. Carson will open with a brief address on the importance of unity, but apart from participating in dialogue with attendees, Trump is not expected to make formal remarks.
"Christian leaders are deeply concerned about the state of our nation after years of government policies and political correctness that have begun to radically and adversely affect the ability of Christians to live out their faith within America's political and cultural landscape," said Bill Dallas, United in Purpose CEO. "Our hope is that as we gather together there can be unity of spirit within the Church in America, even as each individual makes his or her own decisions as to who will be the future leaders in our government."
Having a direct, private conversation with Trump is a part of the process of hearing and being heard by him about issues of faith that affect all people. The group will not be making any joint or collective endorsements, decisions or statements at the event. According to the organizers this is an opportunity to better understand Donald Trump as a person, his position on important issues and his vision for America's future, while also enabling him to better appreciate matters of importance to the influential and substantial faith community.
Trump has been courting evangelicals and has been outspoken in his own personal faith (contested by some) and his promise to be a defender of the Christian faith at large if he were to become president. Trump has met with other Christian leaders privately but never before on this scale.
"Our priorities for this meeting are to strengthen relationships and build unity, with an objective to simply have a conversation about the prospects of our nation and the continuing influence of Christian believers and their biblical worldview," said Sealy Yates, chairman of My Faith Votes. "We wish to talk with specificity to Donald Trump about issues of faith and the role of faith in the civic arena. And, we wish to assure him of our prayers for his family and him. This will be a friendly meeting of people of faith who are genuinely, prayerfully concerned about the future of America."